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What is VoteDown?

Chris S.

VoteDown is a dream of an American Democracy where Congress actually listens to the people they represent.

After so many years of Congress ignoring average American voices, having them kow tow to Dark Money Special Interests, while distracting the populace with Bread and Circus, it does feel like we have to dream to get something so basic as actual representative democracy. The simple goal of giving citizens a voice in their democracy almost seems out of reach in the day and age of excessive gerrymandering, legalized bribery, and social media manipulations.

We aim to fix that by letting people pool their resources together and use those resources to punish Representatives and Senators when they ignore the will of their voters. By acting together and concentrating on the simple goal of listening to constituents, we can drive a change in behavior. No more will Congress fear the NRA or other Special Interests - instead they will fear crossing their own citizens and incurring the wrath of the people.
Project 2025 Will Increase Big Money Influence

The Perils of Project 2025: Replacing Expertise with Political Appointees

Matt Abedi


Project 2025 aims to empower political appointees to replace career government experts, targeting what some call the "deep state." This term refers to long-serving government employees who possess critical knowledge essential for the smooth operation of their respective institutions.

Current System vs. Project 2025


Currently, changes in administration lead to the replacement of department heads who guide experienced staff towards achieving new goals. Project 2025 proposes allowing politicians to replace these experts with appointees aligned with their political agendas.

The Risks to Critical Departments


Consider the Department of Agriculture, which employs entomologists to study insects and protect crops from pests. Under Project 2025, a political appointee with no entomological expertise could replace these scientists. If this appointee ignored the negative effects of a pesticide due to political pressure or corporate influence, it could lead to crop failures, disrupting the food supply and increasing food prices.


Similarly, imagine a political appointee from the insurance industry running Medicare or Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. Such an appointee might deliberately undermine these programs to favor private insurance companies, reducing the quality of care for millions of Americans.

The Core Issue: Politicization of Bureaucracy


While bureaucrats, like all individuals, have personal political views, their primary allegiance is to their expertise and the public good. Allowing political appointees to override this expertise threatens to replace truth and competency with political loyalty and corporate interests.

The Influence of Big Money


Project 2025 could vastly increase the influence of wealthy individuals and corporations over the government. Political appointees might prioritize the interests of their benefactors over those of ordinary citizens, exacerbating inequality and undermining democratic governance.

VoteDown's Commitment


At VoteDown, we believe in holding politicians accountable to prevent policies like Project 2025. Our mission is to ensure that government decisions are driven by expertise and the public interest, not by political or corporate agendas. We advocate for a system where the voices of ordinary citizens outweigh the influence of big money in shaping our government’s policies and actions.


Join us in the fight to maintain a government that truly serves the people, by empowering experts and ensuring accountability in our political system. Together, we can protect the integrity of our democracy and ensure that it remains responsive to the needs of all Americans.




Dark Money Too Powerful

Dark Money Victim: Jamaal Bowman

Chris S

Why Politicians Fear Dark Money


In the intricate dance of American politics, one player wields an almost unrivaled power: dark money. This untraceable flow of funds from powerful interests can make or break politicians, often subverting the democratic process. The recent targeted campaign against Representative Jamaal Bowman, culminating in his primary loss, serves as a stark illustration of why politicians fear dark money.

The Rise and Fall of Jamaal Bowman

Jamaal Bowman, a former middle school principal and progressive darling, first rose to prominence in 2020. He captured national attention by unseating a 16-term incumbent in New York’s 16th Congressional District. Bowman's platform focused on issues such as Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and significant police reform, resonating with voters yearning for substantial change. However, his progressive stance also made him a prime target for well-funded opposition.

The Dark Money Deluge

In the lead-up to the 2024 primary, Bowman faced a deluge of dark money aimed at undermining his campaign. Dark money, by definition, is political spending by nonprofit organizations that are not required to disclose their donors. This lack of transparency allows wealthy individuals and corporate interests to influence elections without accountability.

In Bowman's case, these funds were funneled into a relentless series of negative advertisements, mailers, and online campaigns designed to erode his support base. These attacks focused not on his policy positions, but on character assassination and misleading portrayals of his record. This strategy is a common playbook for dark money groups: create doubt and confusion among voters to suppress support for targeted politicians.

The Impact on Democracy

Bowman's primary loss is not just a personal defeat but a significant blow to democratic principles. When dark money can so effectively sway elections, it raises critical questions about the health of the democratic process. Voters are left in the dark about who is behind these attacks and what their true motivations are. This secrecy undermines the foundational democratic principle of transparency and informed voting.

Why Politicians Fear Dark Money

The fear of dark money is pervasive among politicians for several reasons. Firstly, it can target anyone, regardless of their incumbency or popularity. No politician is immune to the well-funded, shadowy attacks that can come from any direction.

Secondly, dark money's influence is disproportionate. A single wealthy donor or corporation can flood a district with millions of dollars' worth of negative campaigning, overwhelming the opposition's ability to respond. This financial muscle means that even well-established politicians with strong grassroots support can find themselves outmatched and outmaneuvered.

Lastly, the untraceable nature of dark money means that politicians often do not know who their adversaries are. This ambiguity makes it difficult to counter the attacks or address the underlying issues being manipulated. The result is a climate of fear and uncertainty, where politicians must always be wary of the invisible hand that could undermine their careers.

Changing The Game

Bowman's experience highlights the urgent need for campaign finance reform. But, as that is almost impossible to do in the current political and legal climate, VoteDown will be changing the game from the inside. We can't change the rules,. but we can crowd-fund and use the same kind of influence to exert pressure for the priorities we care about.

The Bowman primary was the the most expensive ever, with some estimates showing $20M spent. That is only $30 for each resident in his district and a pittance in the grand scheme of America. With the people acting together through VoteDown, we can dwarf the influence of even the most influential Dark Money group and push American democracy back into supporting the people.

Conclusion

The case of Jamaal Bowman underscores a troubling reality in modern American politics: dark money is a formidable force capable of destroying political careers and distorting democratic processes. As long as this shadowy influence remains unchecked, politicians will continue to fear the unseen adversaries who can mobilize vast resources to sway public opinion and manipulate elections. Addressing this issue is not just a matter of protecting individual politicians, but of safeguarding the very essence of democracy itself. Join VoteDown today and help support us in our cause to change this broken system.
Balancing The Scales

The Disconnect Between Popular Ideas and Congressional Actions: The Influence of Dark Money

Chris S.

In today's politically charged climate, a significant gap exists between the will of the American people and the actions of Congress. This discrepancy raises questions about the influence of dark money in politics and its role in shaping legislative priorities. Despite popular support for various policies, Congress often appears to align more closely with the interests of powerful, anonymous donors. This article delves into the stark contrast between public opinion and congressional actions, supported by recent statistics and studies.

Popular Ideas vs. Congressional Actions


Numerous polls reveal widespread public support for policies that Congress has failed to enact. For instance, a 2023 Pew Research Center survey found that 67% of Americans favor stricter gun control laws, yet significant legislative progress on this issue remains elusive. Similarly, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication reports that 72% of Americans believe in the need for action on climate change, yet comprehensive climate legislation faces significant hurdles in Congress.

Healthcare reform is another area where public opinion and congressional actions diverge. According to a 2022 Gallup poll, 58% of Americans support the idea of a public healthcare option. However, legislative efforts to expand healthcare access have been stymied by intense lobbying from private healthcare interests.

The Role of Dark Money


Dark money refers to political spending by nonprofit organizations that are not required to disclose their donors. This lack of transparency allows wealthy individuals and corporations to exert significant influence over the political process without public accountability. A 2023 report by the Center for Responsive Politics found that dark money groups spent over $1 billion on the 2022 midterm elections, highlighting the magnitude of their influence.

One of the most striking examples of dark money's impact is the issue of campaign finance reform itself. Despite 77% of Americans supporting measures to reduce the influence of money in politics, according to a 2022 Ipsos poll, legislative efforts to address this issue have been largely unsuccessful. This resistance can be attributed to the vested interests of those who benefit from the current system.

Case Studies and Recent Statistics


Several recent studies illustrate the pervasive influence of dark money on congressional actions:

1. Healthcare: A 2023 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers spent over $500 million in lobbying efforts to block Medicare-for-All proposals. This spending directly correlates with the lack of legislative progress despite public support.

2. Climate Change: The Environmental Defense Fund reported in 2023 that fossil fuel companies spent $200 million in dark money to influence congressional decisions on climate policy. This spending has contributed to the slow pace of legislative action on climate change, despite public urgency.

3. Gun Control: The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence highlighted in a 2022 report that gun rights groups, including the NRA, funneled $100 million in dark money to oppose gun control measures. This influx of funds has played a significant role in the stagnation of gun control legislation.

Conclusion


The disconnect between popular ideas and congressional actions is a growing concern in American politics. The influence of dark money creates a barrier between the will of the people and the decisions made by their elected representatives. Addressing this issue requires increased transparency and accountability in political spending, ensuring that the voices of ordinary citizens are not drowned out by the financial power of a few. As public awareness of this issue grows, so does the potential for meaningful reform that realigns congressional actions with the interests and desires of the American people.
George Santos

"Throw The Bums Out" doesn't work

Chris S

The core message around every election season is that we need to MOBILIZE MOBILIZE MOBILIZE, because we need to throw out the bums who are representing us and replace them with someone new. Then, someone new comes in, and, unsurprisingly, they prove to be just as corrupt and shady as the last person. Or, in the case of George Santos, far far more corrupt. So, we throw him out and replace him. Rinse. Repeat.


This "strategy" just leads to the endless cycle of excitement at the new candidate, followed by years of disappointment as they fail to deliver on even a single promise they made to you when they were campaigning. And, what can you do about it? Nothing. You can write letters, call, protest. But, those get ignored, so...Nothing


The fact is that the people going to Washington are not the problem (well, maybe Santos was). The system in Washington is the issue. Good people who try to do the right thing get chewed up and spit out and bad actors rake in cash from Dark Money that let them stay forever. THAT is what we need to battle against - the broken campaign finance system.


I know, I know, you've heard this before - get the money out of politics. blah. blah. blah.



Sounds great, but goes nowhere, right?


We are taking a different tack. Rather than trying to change the rules (which doesn't work), let's use this broken system and beat them at their own game. Let's use the crowdfunding power of the American people to counter the influence of Special Interests. Let's make the representatives scared to take those bribes, because they worry that we will hit against them with even more.


Let's break the horrible cycle and bring the people back into the democratic process.


Santos tried to run again in 2024, but had to stop when he had no money. Imagine how much pressure other representatives will feel when they have negative cash raised for their campaigns - when the VoteDown amounts donated against them are more than the amounts they are able to raise for themselves. Think about how hard they will work for you to avoid that happening.

That is the dream we are working for. That is the dream we will achieve.

A Majority of Americans See Congress as Out Of Touch and Corrupt

Chris S

In the bustling corridors of social and political discussions, there's an echoing sentiment that seems to resonate louder each passing day. It's the perception held by a large swath of the American populace: the belief that their representatives in Congress are less in touch with the daily realities of ordinary citizens and veering towards a path marked by corruption and disconnect. This article dives deep into this prevailing viewpoint, exploring its roots, ramifications, and what it might mean for the future of American democracy.

Understanding the Sentiment


Why do so many Americans feel trapped from those elected to represent them? It's not a question of mere cynicism but rather a reflection of broader societal and political transformations. Let's dissect the causes and implications.

The Roots of Disconnect



1. The Influence of Money in Politics

The overwhelming influence of money in American politics is commonly cited as a primary catalyst for the perceived corruption. The need to fund campaigns leads politicians often to seek financial support from corporations, special interest groups, and wealthy individuals whose interests may not align with those of the broader public.

2. The Echo Chamber Effect

With the rise of targeted media and social media algorithms, citizens and legislators alike find themselves in echo chambers that reinforce existing beliefs and perspectives, minimizing exposure to diverse viewpoints. This phenomenon potentially exacerbates the gap between public expectations and congressional actions.

3. Legislative Stagnation


Another factor could be the apparent legislative stagnation seen in Congress. Critical issues such as healthcare reform, immigration policy, and infrastructure funding witness little to no progress, fueling frustration and furthering the belief of a dysfunctional legislative body.

Symptoms of a Deeper Problem


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